On August 28, 2019, New Delhi Television (NDTV) reported on a story that had been previously published by the Washington Post, Harvard Freshman Deported From Airport Over Friends’ Social Media Posts.
This article began with the following statement:
Ismail Ajjawi touched down at Boston Logan International Airport on Friday night, prepared to begin his freshman year at Harvard University. The 17-year-old Palestinian student never left the airport.
The Harvard Crimson reported that U.S. officials detained Ajjawi for eight hours. After interrogating the minor and searching his phone and computer, they revoked his visa and sent him home to Lebanon.
According to a statement by Ajjawi, an immigration officer claimed she “found people posting political points of view that oppose the U.S.,” though she discovered nothing Ajjawi had posted himself.
Under 8 U.S. Code § 1182, aliens who seek admission into the United States bear the burden of proving that they do not belong to a class of aliens who are inadmissible because they pose a threat to public health, public safety, national security or would undermine the jobs and wages of Americans.
Aliens who are denied entry at ports of entry are excluded from the U.S. and not deported, however the term “deported” as used in the title of the NDTV report evokes a strong emotional response.
Ajjawi was carrying a Lebanese passport and was identified as being Palestinian. Lebanon is a “Special Interest Country.” Lebanon has a known nexus to terrorism. Hezbollah has its origins in Lebanon.
These factors would require that he receive greater scrutiny by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspectors who are responsible for preventing the entry of aliens into the United States who might pose a threat to national security and/or public safety.
The fact that his computer contained anti-American posts written by his friends and other relevant factors were of sufficient concern to the CBP inspectors to deny him entry.
(While Ajjawi was denied entry into the United States initially, he was subsequently permitted to return to the U.S. and was admitted to attend Harvard University as a freshman biology student.)
The article went on to report:
The State Department has the authority to issue and revoke visas, the official said, and CBP has the authority to cancel visas under certain circumstances. If the agency determines an applicant is inadmissible for entry, the CBP can cancel the visa.
Ajjawi said that, initially, he was detained with a handful of international students. As the others were released, he was questioned about his religious practices and social media activity.
Despite Friday’s events, the Crimson reported that Ajjawi’s experience is “rare among Harvard undergraduates.” The school paper cited two Iranian graduate students who were blocked from entering the country in January 2017 because of the Trump administration’s travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries.
The report included a disturbing response from Harvard University’s president, Lawrence Bacow:
Harvard’s president, Lawrence Bacow, wrote to the secretary of state and acting secretary of homeland security last month to express his concerns about student visas and student work visas. “Students report difficulties getting initial visas – from delays to denials,” he wrote. “Scholars have experienced postponements and disruptions for what have previously been routine immigration processes such as family visas, renewals of status, or clearance for international travel. This year graduates across Harvard have seen significant delays in receiving Optional Practical Training approvals. This has hindered or endangered their post-graduate work and, in some cases, their medical residencies.”
Bacow wrote that he appreciates that there is a broader policy priority with regard to the security concerns, including protection of intellectual property and reporting on donations to the institution, but that visa policies mandating increased scrutiny of foreign students and scholars was raising concern.
“Academic science is open and collaborative,” he wrote. “While we support appropriate measures to safeguard valuable intellectual property, national defense, and sensitive, emerging technologies, singling out one country and its citizens is incompatible with the culture and mission of higher education and our national ideals.”
Knowledge is power. When we train America’s adversaries in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, including biology, we create opportunities for America’s enemies to acquire the skills they need to create weapons.
Bacow’s statement that “Academic science is open and collaborative” is incredibly naive and dangerous, providing an example of what my parents’ sage observation, “There is a world of difference between being “educated” and being smart!”
The Rosenbergs were executed for passing nuclear secrets to Russia. Those nuclear secrets were the direct result of academic research into nuclear physics. Every administration promises to prevent nuclear proliferation. We live in a dangerous world and the transfer of technology, and not just nuclear technology, to our adversaries creates existential risks for America and our allies.
As I noted in a previous article, we are Eduating ‘Engineers Of Jihad’ At US Univiersities.
My previous article for FPM focused on how, years before the 9/11 terror attacks, our leaders had already connected the dots linking immigration failures to national security vulnerabilities and included Senator Dianne Feinstein’s prepared statement for a February 24, 1998 hearing conducted by the Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information on the topic, Foreign Terrorists In America: Five Years After The World Trade Center.
Consider this excerpt from her statement:
I have some reservation regarding the practice of issuing visas to terrorist-supporting countries and INS’ inability to track those who come into the country either using a student visa or using fraudulent documents, as you pointed out, through the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.
The Richmond Times recently reported that the mastermind of Saddam Hussein’s germ warfare arsenal, Rihab Taha, studied in England on a student visa. And England is one of the participating countries in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, which means, if she could have gotten a fraudulent passport, she could have come and gone without a visa in the United States.
The article also says that Rihab Taha, also known as “Dr. Germ,” that her professors at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, speculate that she may have been sent to the West specifically to gain knowledge on biological weaponry.
What is even more disturbing is that this is happening in our own backyard.
The Washington Post reported on October 31, 1991, that U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq discovered documents detailing an Iraqi Government strategy to send students to the United States and other countries to specifically study nuclear-related subjects to develop their own program. Samir AJ-Araji was one of the students who received his doctorate in nuclear engineering from Michigan State University, and then returned to Iraq to head its nuclear weapons program.
Senator Feinstein went on to note:
The defendants of the World Trade Center bombing are also an example of those coming in through nonimmigrant or employment-based visas or abusing our political asylum process and then committing crimes.
For instance, Nidal Ayyad, one of the defendants in this case, used his position as a chemical engineer for Allied Signal to obtain the chemicals used in the World Trade Center bombing.
The September 2, 2014 ABC News report, Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to Track Missing Foreign Students began with this excerpt:
The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished — exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
“My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything,” said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. “Some of them could be here to do us harm.”
The report went on to note:
ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. — now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.
“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “They get the visas and they disappear.”
Coburn said since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terror-related charges.
There are precious few ICE agents, and neither political party is willing to provide funding for more badly-needed ICE agents to enforce our laws and thus protect America and Americans.
Meanwhile the radical left seeks to remove our borders and disband immigration law enforcement altogether.
In this deadly game of “Hide & Seek” the bad guys easily hide, often in plain sight, and ICE has no agents to do the seeking.